[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989/1 pp.3,4 later designated J10]
Thirty years desiningFrom Pwe Lin Lihg, Ganzou, Jiangxi Province, China:-
Let me adres yu in our latle developd spech-sound Inglish speling, a sistem jenerally widh no or a litl chanj tu text aperens, bart widh over-aul consistent mach tu prononsiatyon for wich hou-ever Niu Speling regretably mad drastic chanjes tu text aperens. And our sistem maches aul spelings to prononsiatyon and removs aul aberent speling paterns, not lik Cut Speling wich maches and removs onle mane.
Inglish speling reform bi stajes wud eventyyalle be renderd fiutil bi dhe inevitabl fonetic inconsistensy arizing among dhe difrent stajes of dhe reform. Hare Lindgren hadn't taken dhis intu his consideration.
Aul dhe atanments, if ane, of our sistem can be fulle verifid in persenal discusyons, widhout wich yu wudn't anderstand dham. Wil I, nou over sevente and in il helth, hav ben sacrifising dhez thirte yers panstaking eforts in desining a fezible lnglish speling sistem for Briten, wi has yur Sosite sarcrifisd a sentyyure's eforts widhout ane sabstunsyal achevment?
Specifications.From Harvie Barnard, Tacoma, Washington State, USA:-
[See Journal, Anthology and SPB articles, by Harvie Barnard.]
A spelling system, to be rationally acceptable and not confusing, should conform as much as practicable to a simple set of specifications:
1. It should reflect the simplicity of the spoken language.
2. It should be closely related fonetically to the pronunciation of the spoken language.
3. It should be dependably regular, devoid of obvious inconsistencies.
4. A 1-to-1 sound-symbol relationship within the limitations of the alfabet is desirable; limiting letter combinations to digrafs when single symbols are not fonetically acceptable.
5. Silent letters should be avoided:
a) one letter or digraf for each fone;
b) one sound for each symbol or digraf;
c) duplications should be avoided both for symbols and sounds;
d) no symbols should be eliminated needlessly, i.e. for sake of economy of either space, time or expense.
Now that draconian reforms are rocking Britain's schools and colleges, and with a new administration taking over in the US, the time is ripe for change and corrections.
Dutch patterns.[See artikels about dutch spelling reform.]
From J Clausen, Horsham, Sussex:-
The attempts in the past to simplify the written language have failed because the changes proposed have been too drastic all at once. Even your proposals at present for Cut Speling would seem to me again too drastic to get the nesesary suport. The arguments for Cut Speling I agree with are the increased simplisity and the consekwent reduction in computer and disc spase.
I should like to know how you are attempting to get this country to agree to your proposals to change spelling. There is actualy no institution or body which can deside upon what a new speling should be. The Oxford Dictionary for example is only a user compilation!
So are you proposing to start by persuading printers and newspapers?
From my experiense with the dutch speling alterations, of which there have been about ten in the last 50 years, I would have thought that in the first plase we should change the obvius odities, e.g. philosophy: filosofy, received: recieved, frequent: frekwent, this to be folowed by cuting rule 3, e.g. doubled consonants simplified.
I would have thought that this could be the least controversial of the Cut Speling proposals. It would set presedents and the more controversial proposal, cuting rule 1, could be introdused next.
Another area of my discontent with english speling is the inconsistensy of the <c>. In dutch the <c> is replased with a <k> where pronounsed /k/. However I think that the opposite course of action is rekwired in english: that is to replase <c> with <s>.
The to my mind most controversial cuting rule 2 I would introduse last.
The 1984 Resolutions.From Stanley Gibbs, Oadby, Leicester:-
[See Journal and Newsletter articles by Stanley Gibbs.]
As I was mainly responsibl for the Society's Stage 1 Resolutions of 1984, may I offer a reply to Professor Gregersen? (Journal 1988/3, J9 p.11)
The 5-point Stage 1 Resolutions were intended to be a start leading to Nue Speling. The intention was also to giv the Society an official House Style which could redily be used when writing to outside bodies, and internally with our own SSS correspondence.
But to deal with Professor Gregersen's doubts:-
On balance the word plough was altered to plou. Plow would be acceptable altho there might be confusion with blow, flow, glow.
The form thurra was another such decision taken. During my period over several years as the Society's Secretary I wrote thurro, having forgotten that the decision was for thurra.
I agree that the two forms <dh, th> show better scholarship. In 1972 I voted for their retention, but the Society voted hevily in favour of <th> for both sounds. Professor Citron advised me to "drop <dh> like a red-hot rivet".
Our Society's official Stage 1 accepts the 1972 Resolution.
The spelling doh lines up with oh! In music we have doh, soh. However, doe could very well replace doh if it were felt advisabl to conform to Nue Speling.
As for cof, baut, the pronunciation which might suggest cawf is nearly ded in Britain. Nue Speling givs kof, baut; Dewey offers cof, baut.
To deal with words such as ought, bought etc: if Professor Gregersen will examin New Spelling (Ripman and Archer), p.13 iii states the following:
"To avoid, as far as possible, combinations of letters which are not already in use or more or less familiar".I agree with this; aut, baut, faut, fraut, raut follow the rules and are more acceptable than oht, boht etc. The i.t.a. has adopted ligatured <au> into its system. I deny that SR <ough> is simply too complicated. I used SR <ough> in my secretarial capacity for four years without eny problems.
In conclusion, I would make this plea: the 5-point Stage 1 has been accepted as the SSS's official House Style by the minuted Resolutions of 1984. Let us all resolv to use this House Style when writing to the Journal. Surely we can agree that this modest official House Style is the best that has alredy been devised?
American Changes.From Ed Rondthaler, American Literacy Council, New York:-
[See Journal, Newsletter, Anthology, SPB articles, and Personal View by Edward Rondthaler.]
In answer to questions about the latest changes to Simplified American Spelling (see Journal 1988/3, J9 p30):
- American attempts to reach a compromise close enough to 'one-to-one' so that it can be learned as readily as other languages, and yet close enough to TO so that those who ultimately will have to sanction its use will be able to read it without so much annoyance that they refuse support. Terminal <-s> for plurals, possessives and 3rd person singular present tense is a consistency that can be reliably labeled a "predictable generality".
- Since in speech we unfailingly differentiate by the use of context, why should we not do the same visually?
- <cur> vs <cer> was a tough decision and our decision to retain <cur> may not be the best. It was not without reason however. Nowhere in TO is hard <c> followed by <er>. We had great trouble with such spellings as cerent, cerb etc. A better solution might be kerent, kerl, kerb, and we're certainly open on that point.
- It is not your or my pronunciation that determines the prevailing pronunciation. It's the consensus of many dictionaries. The <i> in hapily and the <y> in hapyest are not pronounced the same. The <i> in TO happiness, happiest has more ee-sound that the <i> in happily.
- Valerie Yule is right (Journal 1988/3, J9 p32) about the bulkyness of depreeshyaeshun. Our new spelling of a similar word is abreeviaet, better than abreevyaet - it straightens out the use of <y> as a vowel and as a consonant.
There ought to be something in Cut Spelling that we could use in American. For example: now that we have abandoned <ur> in favor of stressed <er>, it might be sensible to use <r> instead of unstressed <er>. But when we begin to make this change on a large scale we get into trouble with hundreds of words like TO teeter/teetering. CS teetr is OK, but CS teetring is not. Teetring has only 2 syllables and it should have 3. This sort of thing keeps popping up when adding suffixes after <dr, fr, gr, kr, pr, tr> etc. And in CS I find the TO word consonants translated into CS consnnts - a spelling that indicates only two syllables. No dictionary will agree with that.
For one who is literate in English the CS elisions may be OK. For the illiterate, however, so much iffyness is not helpful. It's just too slippery a system. And what about the <r/er> inconsistency in CS numbr/numerus? Or the 2 different pronunciations of <y> in slytly? Don't we have to address the matter of the long vowels? It's really our biggest problem.
Recognizing that the rule "If in doubt, cut it out*" solves some problems but creates others, I'm tempted by a rule that might read something like "If in doubt use <-er, -ent, -abl> etc - admitting that it could lead to the acceptance of both doctor and docter, dolar and doler, penant and penent, posibl and posabl, etc.
I've been inclined to feel that Ripman and Dewey were on the right track in the way they handled post-accent schwa before <l, m, n> as described on page 296. But if there's a better way with rules that apply consistently, we're certainly open. I get into trouble with autm, autumnl and things like that.
* (Th CS gideline is th oposit of this: "if in dout, dont cut out!" - Ed.)
Streamlining Wingfield.From Robert Craig, Weston-super-Mare, Avon:-
[See Journal and Newsletter articles by Robert Craig.]
Ij cot cat Wingfield'z ijdiez wyr gud. But cei rizoltid in wyrdz ov ynakseptebel lengc, for ekzampel, tsheindzh. Mij verxen txeinq/cxeinq is nou longer can TO change. Olsou Ij cot cat ce jus ov konsenent simbelz az vauel sirnbelz had tu bi ruld out.
It hartenz mi tu sii ce digrii ov konsensus nau diveloping wicin ce sosijeti. Nou-wyn nau siimz tu kuestxen cat <k> (not <c>) xud stand for /k/. If wi wyr tu eplij cc lekzikograferz rulz tu spelingz in leterz tu ce SSS qyrnel, cen tu, du wud be Haus Stijl for TO to, do.
Ce kontribuxenz from Cxijne ar gud. Ce ijdie ov juzing ce epostrofi tu mark stres siimz wyrc ekzamining.
It iz interesting cat ce konsenent sistem ov Nu Speling (klasikel vyrxen) iz standing yp, byt ce vauel sistem iz teiking a batering, wic kontinentel (ie juniversel) modelz priferd.
Rigarding Harks' obqekxen tu hijfenz, ceir jus kud bi fyrcer ridusd bij rijting emfatik re seperetli, cys:- re make, re evolve, re creation, olsou co operation, co exist, co axial ets.
If hi iz going tu cxeinq nycing els, cen Bill Herbert wil hav tu put yp wic wunce racer can wuns. Ku for queue siimz e bit problematikel. Keu wud be beter, ie substituting <k> for <q> and noking of ce fijnel <e>.
I think we should at least try diakritiks. A useful symbol would be <ö> f for short <u> as in but. This would allow <u> to be used in a more international way. You would then have to cut to enöf, töf, tröbl, döbl. I notice a new pronunciation of /ju:/ as in use, which would suggest <ü> as a symbol. Altho not intirely satisfactory in this context, diakritiks could be used to overkome Edgar Gregersen's objections to the ambiguities of Cut Spelling: who > hö (later hu), but hoe > ho; to > tö (later tu), but toe > to; do > dö (later du), but doe, dough (cf donut) > do (but due > dü); similarly hovr but cövr.
Australian role.From Bill Herbert, Kenmore, Queensland, Australia:-
[See Journal article by Bill Herbert.]
We reluctantly agree that American should take precedence over English, but there are many reforms not in conflict. Australia does have a role: hiccup is commonly used; plow, thru and tho are acceptable. The Australian Labor Party is never spelt Labour Party.
There are many language schools teaching English speech. What an opportunity to introduce them to phonetic spelling - a short list, with further reforms foreshadowed such as more Cut Spelling (dropping silent letters), the <-ough, -augh, -igh> words; some of SR1; <f> for <ph>.
It is highly unlikely that any big reform, say 100 words, will be accepted as a first stage. So why not press for a small reform - glaring unphonetic words? There is nothing to lose.
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